Kaylee Thompson developed into a strong runner at Niles High School

Published: May. 26, 2020 at 3:22 PM EDT
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Niles senior Kaylee Thompson loves running, and it all started back in the third grade at the Ballard Elementary Spirit run in 2010, where she finished in second place.

"That’s what triggered it," Thompson said. "I was like, I love this."

That love has led to a serious dedication to running the right way.

"During a race, I have a set plan on how I am going to run to each lap," Thompson said. "I just stick to it, 'This lap, you’re going to do this. This lap you’re going to do this.' It’s pretty strategic."

Following that strategy, Thompson won several races. She even won the individual Berrien County Championship two years in a row running the 5K in just 20 minutes and 2 seconds.

"I would just say having the mental toughness to get through the workout because you can do it," Thompson said. "You can run, three or four or five miles, but it’s all in your head. You can still do it."

Thompson's coaches noticed that can do attitude since her freshman year, and named Thompson a captain during her junior and senior seasons. Thompson says she always put the team first.

"I would want people to remember me as a team player," Thompson said. "I was always doing it for the team. When I was in a race, I was also thinking I need to score these points for my team. I want people to remember me as the girl who was motivating them and pushing them to run their best."

Next year, Thompson will continue to run her best at the next level. She will take her talents to Grand Valley State and run for the Lakers.

"I’m super excited," Thompson said. "I’ve never lived on my own before. I can’t wait to meet all new friends and get to work harder with them because I’m going to be living with my teammates. I just can’t to grow not as just a person but as a runner."

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